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SilverMoon
October 4th, 2010, 06:24 PM
Smallest Saviour

With wing of silver
and heart of gold
and heart of gold
the Hummingbird
picks a spider out from it’s web
to release a fly,
fastened,
destined to die
beneath a blue sky, sad,
wanting to abet.

Char wrote the poem late one evening after Margie, Dwight’s wife, had her over for tea one morning explaining the good heart of the Hummingbird. She had had showed her a large book of the birds with lovely illustrations to accompany each species.

Absolutely fascinated, “So small and they eat every twenty minutes?.” she said. Margie laughed and patted her large stomach. “Guess I’m like a Hummingbird but not so small! Char sipped her tea then said “You’re just fine the way you are." Margie stared into her dark blue eyes “If only people thought the same way. When I used to go into town an old biddy or two were always tell’n me I’d be real attractive if I lost the weight. My reply to them? “And you’d be more attractive if you kept your trap shut!” Char laughed, not accustomed to this sort of sparing. “Marvelous snap, Margie! Do you mind if I ask why you don’t go into town?” Margie pointed to her bum leg which was swollen and wrapped with gauze. “Dwight does all my errands. I know I give him a hard time but love the old bugger. Besides the town is a gossipy old place, a real rumor mill and don’t want no one knowin my business.” Margie took one long look at Char. “Betcha you must be the talk of the town! A charming girl like yourself with the posture of some society lady “ If she only knew. Char thought. “Well, there was bit of gawking when I was down, strolling my dog.”

Char continued “A little Irish town. Every shop with an ‘O before surname.” Margie said “Hon, try to talk English. Margie questioned "What’s a sir name? Like a sir’s name?" Char explained. “I would never have thought. Now that’s interesting. The origin. Talk to me the way ya wanna. Don’t go listening to me. I guess I could do with some educating.” Char pointed to the Hummingbird book. “Margie, I wouldn't have known a thing about these charming little creatures if not for you. Fair exchange today. Yes?” Margie said, shaking her head “You talk high flatulent. But I like ya anyhow.”

Boldy, Char said, “And I’m going to walk straight into O’Brian’s Pub for a late afternoon drink today. I’m not going to shrink away from the town where I’ve decided to make my home! “No!” Margie blurted. Ya kidd’n me?! Me an Dwight used do our share of drinking back then, there. Used to be a sport’s bar but O’Brian bought it out an turned it into some quaint pub. But quaint it ain’t no more. Sluts and bikers, now.” Char lifted her chin “I don’t care. I’m going because I’m curious.”

She thought of Trader Vic’s in the Plaza Hotel Oh, it was so tame there. I could walk in alone and just as I’d sit down at the bar someone I knew would be there sitting next to me talking about his stock portfolio. Jason used to go on about his latest yachting trip. And as I was trained, looked captivated. Such a predictable bore. I want to experience a real drinker’s place. I want to feel alive! “Snap, snap out of it! Looks like ya in a coma or somth’n.” Char was back in the kitchen. “Sorry, went into a little day dream” Margie’s brows furrowed. “Well, if ya planning on goi’n into O’Brian’s ya better not be day dream’n girl!

Having the common sense not to dress up, she dressed plainly. So it was yet another new plaid shirt, baggy khaki pants, no makeup and hair pulled up into a ponytail. She looked in the full length mirror in the Fat Elvis bathroom and knew this was the way to go. She grabbed the leather sack she had purchased in Costa de Sole some years ago and marched out the door after giving Ruff a playful petting

She parked next to a souped up old Chevy in parking lot out back. Took in a deep breath and was on her way rounding the corner. The pub was dimly lit and at this time of day it was not too populated. She was relieved for that and sat on the stool, closest to the door where there was light shinning in through the window. She had brought a book with her, “Madame Bovary,” just for a sense of security. She sipped her drink and read. No one would pay much mind.

Budda the bartender and half owner of the pub was about 6’4 with shaven head and a big belly. An appropriate name. He had plenty of tats on both arms and his right ear had pewter looking stud earrings running up his ear. The other ear just had one. He was heavy built. Like he worked out. Worked out everything except his stomach.

He looked like he had seen an apparition when he spotted Char who was trying to concentrate on her reading all the while tapping her finger on the bar’s winding table. She saw him but didn’t meet him in the eye just yet. She was too busy taking in the “all” of him. She eventually noticed his hazel eyes and got the feeling that they hid many secrets. She couldn’t peg him. “I’ll be damned! Someone new has stepped into this ratty old dump and with a book no less” She refused to blush. “Whada have stranger lady? “ She knew they had no Cosmopolitans there so she asked for Grey Goose vodka with a lime. Grey Goose was so smooth you could drink it straight. He smiled almost affectionately. “Grey Goose, hey? I can get you a purple hen?” Char laughed. She could be very self-effacing at times. She looked around the pub and noticed just about every one was drinking beer. “I’ll have a beer. Your best.” she said firmly. Budda just about lost it. "Where on earth did you come from dear girl? How bout a Samuel Adam’s. Plenty would disagree with me but that’s my recommendation.” She said “And with a lime, please” He just shook his head and said “And with a lime”. He grinned like an impish kid. He just couldn’t help himself knowing she knew nothing about “real” drinks. He pretended to look serious “Now, would that be on tap?”. She didn’t know what to make of that but said “On tap” hoping it would be a good thing.

Beer. She didn’t really care for it but the lime made it taste better, squezzing out all the juice into the amber drink. Budda watched her work that lime and placed two more slices on a small plate near her book. “What are you reading, there?” She sips the beer managing not to make a face and said “Madame Bovary”. He leaned into the table “Never heard of it. What’s it about?” Char was eager to explain. "It’s about a doctor’s wife, Emma Bovary who has adulterous affairs and..” Whoa! Stop right there. You look to young to be reading a book like that!”

Char did look much younger for her age in general but the ponytail without makeup, sliced off even more years. “Do I need to produce a driver’s license?” She said mockingly. He scratched is hairless head and said “Maybe I should take a look?” She laughed. “You certainly will not! I’m old enough to know better. Any twenty-three year old woman would tell you so.” He was surprised. “A pretty clever little thing to say, revealing your age. Wouldn’t have thought.” She returned to the discussion, “As I said, Emma Bovary had adulterous affairs because her doctor husband was about as dim witted as they came. So, I find her to be a very sympathetic protagonist, though some would argue”. He tried not to look puzzled. “Protagonist. Now, I’m straight, here. Gotta explain that one to me” And so Char went on and on.

They talked for sometime. She thought Now I’ve made three friends. Jack Crowley, Margie and now Budda. Well, not exactly friends in the sense of the word that you trust them, yet, but fine enough to share company. Not bad for just arriving to a strange town who dreaded outsiders. “Another beer? She just had to confess, leaned over and whispered “No, I absolutely dread it. What kind of vodka do you serve here?” Ah! Absolute for you. With a lime?” She nodded her head and instructed “With tonic. Lots of tonic. I’ve already had the beer”. “Oh another big time drinker here! You got it.”

She studied the pub. There was an older couple at the far end of the bar.
They looked like they were part of the woodwork, she imagined that they had been drinking here since they were first married. Both were in a haze, staring straight ahead at nothing in particular. She did spot a slut with a black leather skirt. The shortest skirt she had ever seen. The guy next to her wasn’t a biker but wore a goatee and even from the distance she could tell his black hair was greasy. It was the way the lighting was hitting.

Budda returned with her drink, turned, and said “Yeah. In here every night, those two, making out. All hot and heavy. Like, man, get them a room!” Char realized that it was getting darker outside. The time had passed quickly talking with Budda. But she refused to gulp her drink down and dash out. Now, he didn’t have that much time to spend with her as the pub was getting busy. By the time she finished her drink. She noticed the younger crowed entering. The younger crowd…. What was she thinking? She was the younger crowd. But she had never felt young since her fifth birthday on Park Avenue with the terrace overlooking Central Park. The terrace decorated with pink balloons. She remembered a particular photograph from that day. She and her friends standing in a row with the Park as a backdrop. She, the birthday girl, the only one not smiling.

The room. White walled, Shaker rocking chair, hard wood floor. Char, in the rocking chair, her Costa de Sole sack on the floor next to her boots, was thinking about her day; reveling. She slowly rocked while Ruff was ready to knaw on her new L.L. Bean boots. “Heel, heel! I tell you.You are the most incorrigible dog! You’re getting a professional trainer.” He was not used to this tone of voice and ran to the porch. She felt remorseful and cuddled with him on the on the cushy old couch. That night she was dreaming up ideas as to what to do with that empty living with the Shaker rocking chair.

She was woken by a tap, tap, tap taping on her door, looked at her travel clock. “Good God who on earth calls on anyone before ten O’clock in the morning? Certainly not Miss Manners! Never before ten.” She threw on a bathrobe, stumbled to the front door. “Who is it? She was agitated. “It’s Margie, for God sakes! Who else do you know on these grounds besides me? And why the hell didn’t ya just open the door? I ain’t goin to bite! That’s right. You’re not in Manhattan anymore. This will take some adjusting. Well, I did sleep in awfully late.

Margie, bright eyed, brought in her homemade biscuits and a big canister of hot coffee. Char had no kitchen table yet so it was to the porch, as usual. Margie nestled into the rattan chair. Pink curlers all in place. “Now tell me all about last night! I see you survived. Been wondering about you all afternoon and evening. Char wiped the sleepers from of her eyes and poured herself some coffee. “Thanks for the breakfast, Margie, but you didn’t have to go…” “It’s my pleasure. Besides I’m always up at six. No better time to make biscuits to warm the morning chill in the house. Now, I get out nowhere, so let me do a little livin through you. Char was awake now.

“It went splendidly, actually. Budda was good company and from a distance I got acquainted with the sort there. From a distance.” Margie was dead serious for probably the first time that Char had known her. “Good thing you went in mid- afternoon. Need I say more?. She sighed, sadly "Poor Budda. A heart of gold even though he’s been through such tragedy.” Char’s eyes were wide open. “What happened to him?’ Margie leaned forward “He lost his whole family in a car accident. He was the driver. His wife was the sweetest, prettiest nurse. And those two kids! Josh was about seven when the accident happened and loved to collect stamps. Jenna was, I think, eleven. Smart little thing. Real good at science. And she was daddy‘s little girl for sure but not spoilt, ya know?” Char didn’t say a word. She thought of his gentle eyes and jovial trickery. She just didn’t say one word. Not one.

She painted the living room walls deep turquoise and the crown molding melon. Very New Mexico but I’ll fix that! Old Jack helped her load up the furniture into the back of her truck. He just shook his head, smiling and waved her off goodbye.

A red couch with a touch of burgundy, no bright garish red. An outdoor iron wrought table which had been painted white, now chipped; which she kept that way for “edge” for the coffee table. Two mismatched lamps both fringed and set on two small, fat, black pedestals flanking the couch. Good sturdy wood floor. Only a teal blue area rug beneath the coffee table where a small stack of books sat. To the left upper corner of the table she placed a large ornate orange glass bowl. Nothing in it. Why did it need anything? It just “was.“ Everything else she’d find at the local flea market. Of course, she left the Quaker rocking chair alone. To paint that would be criminal. But she just had to have a painting over the couch now and then. She thought of all classic possibilities but banished the thought when she found “it” in a thrift shop a few hours later. Looked like an Outsider Art piece which went for good money in SoHo galleries. Most likely a self-portrait of someone who was a mental patient. That’s what Outsider Art was all about. Here, a twisted, contorted young man with oversized eyes, green veins which bled purple tears. Had one ear missing like Van Gogh. Scribblings. Dark and bright thin slaps of paint here and there. A rough painting that took her breath away. Such agony was captured. Such purity. No filter.

She brought overhead lighting and placed it above the large painting. She sat in the Quaker rocking chair, slowly rocking, and discovered more about the painting, now that it was lit. It was more alive now. Perhaps because it was in her home. Maybe, it was the lighting. Never mind. It had a soul. Someone out there had splattered their core on canvass. Someone very courageous. Seraphic.

caelum
October 5th, 2010, 07:53 AM
Heya, Laurie :). Just gonna jump right in with the nitpicks here. For someone who is out of practice, this was good. Keep writing and I'm sure you'll come up with some great stuff. Beginning anything is the hardest part.


Char wrote the poem late evening after Margie, Dwight’s wife, had her over for tea one morning explaining the good heart of the Hummingbird.You may want to take a look at how you word this. Mentioning the evening so soon after morning doesn't mesh with me. Here's how I'd do it,

Char wrote the poem late one evening, the same day that Margie, Dwight’s wife, had had her over for morning tea where she explained the good heart of the Hummingbird.I added a "had" in front of "had" to make it the past perfect, the correct tense. It can be easy to forget the had in front of had, because they are, after all, the same word. If there's a string of verbs, you only need had in front of the first one. And you may want to use a different adjective than good, because it's not specific enough. Good as in good-natured? Or good as in powerful?


Absolutely fascinated, she rushed “So, small and they eat every twenty minutes?”Okay, you'll hafta conjugate this entire flashback with "had"s, so you'll need one in front of rushed. Also, a comma after rushed, because whenever you're introducing dialogue you always have a comma before it, or sometimes a colon if it's really direct. And the comma inside the dialogue you may want to exchange for three dots. Here's how I'd do it,

Absolutely fascinated, she had rushed, “So. . . small and they eat every twenty minutes?”And to add one final thought, consider using "said". Alternatives to said for dialogue are very possible, but often not as good as said.


“You’re just fine the way you are”At the end of dialogue before the last ", there's always got to be a mark. If it's ending the sentence, typically a period; if a "he said" is coming up, typically a comma.


She thought If she only knewThis part I'd flip around and add a comma to, and maybe add Char's name.
If she only knew, Char thought.


What’s a sir name? Like a sir’s name?" She explained.Hmmm. . . around this part, you'll want to use their names more than "she", because they're both girls and that can get confusing.


But quaint it ain’t no more.lol, that has a ring to it


kakiA little typo here. Should be khaki.



“What you’re reading, there?”Doesn't quite mesh with me. I'd put "you", it will still sound vernacular.


They looked like they were part of the woodwork, she imagining that theyMight wanna start a new sentence and say imagined.


roughtShould be wrought.


discovered more about the painting, now litI'd put: discovered more about the painting now that it was lit.

Okay, one thing I notice is there's hardly a context for a word that I would question, a word used incorrectly. Some things I read, that happens a lot: "Hey, I resemble that remark." There were a handful of minor errors, a missing quotation mark here, a repeated word there. I strongly encourage you to be vicious in your editing. This piece is significantly longer than your other Char pieces so it may have been more of a challenge to edit, but there are mistakes here that I'm sure you can catch.

One final note, strongly consider starting new lines for dialogue. I really don't have a problem reading your story the way it is, but that's the established norm and what most readers will expect. If you're ever a bit fuzzy on dialogue, a great thing to do is grab the nearest book and rip to any dialgoue section and see what they did. It's all pretty straightforward.

Well, I didn't sit down with the intention of writing a critique longer than the story, but it just blossomed. lol. Hope this is helpful,
-cae

SilverMoon
October 5th, 2010, 05:23 PM
cae - I am absolutely of the silver moon ;-) that you took the time to point out the problematic areas. You've been more than generous. This was my first attempt at prose in over ten years, so I'm pleased you found it to be an example of a good start. Thought I had included all the quotation marks, having gone over it a second time but the third time it will be! In two cases, I reconstructed some of the sentences based on your suggestions.


"But quaint it ain’t no more."
lol, that has a ring to it

Glad you got a kick. But was actually hesitant to use it because I had read that you should never rhyme in prose but since this was dialouge, I felt fee to include.


a repeated word there.

Not to get myself off the hook, but I've been noticing in posts and pms that words sometimes get automatically repeated. I think it's a technical problem which I'm now going to address to admistration.


What you’re reading, there?”

Quite right. Changed to "What are you reading, there?" Budda doesn't use the same vernacular as the rest of the characters in the story.


One final note, strongly consider starting new lines for dialogue

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this? Normally, I've never applied much dialogue in my work if I recall. Mostly descriptions with imagery. So, laying in dialouge is also new to me.

I've learned quite a bit from all that you've pointed out which I'll be applying to my next short. Hopefully successfully. This evening I will be concluding the story and will be striving for the best. Again, thank you so much! Laurie

Nellie
October 6th, 2010, 02:33 AM
Laurie,

The continuation of "Owning A Glorious Moon" is captivating.
It seems like Margie is a challenge to Char, which is good for Char in this story. I like her night out and meeting with Budda.

Th last two paragraphs are alive to me. I like the mentioning of Van Gogh and his missing ear. Very vivid. Great story.

Cindy

SilverMoon
October 6th, 2010, 03:13 AM
Thank you, Cindy. Char needed a mother figure in this story, so Margie it was. Budda like a big brother. A new family for her. And can't forget Crowley, like a father figure. Really pleased you liked the end, descriptions of that painting. Tried to make it as vivid as possible. Now, ready to post the conclusion. And I want to thank anyone who's been following the story.

Chesters Daughter
October 8th, 2010, 04:57 PM
Laurie, love, I am absolutely seething. I just spent a good amount of time reading and replying, and listing whatever nits I found and the damn thing disappeared when I tried to post it. I knew I should have copied it because I took so long, but this computer doesn't let me copy stuff like mine did. I don't freaking believe this. Story is great, I'll try to be more eloquent once I calm down. I hate losing long replies, especially those with suggestions. I'll skim through again and see if I can catch everything again and write it down again. Perhaps in teeny tiny replies so I don't lose it again. Ugh, nah check that, grrrrrr is more befitting.

SilverMoon
October 8th, 2010, 06:50 PM
Dont worry Lisa I'm going over the "Enirety" with a fine tooth comb.